The former physical chemist and current German Chancellor Angela Merkel was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. After her firm and welcoming stance on allowing Syrian refugees into Germany and her handling of the Greek debt crisis, both of which drew heavy criticism from Germany and the rest of the world, Time named her Person of the Year “for asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply.”
Despite what this here 13-page slideshow, “See All the Past Women Named TIME’s Person of the Year,” suggests, over the 89 years of the title’s existence, Merkel is only the fourth solo woman to be named Person of the Year.
The first woman was socialite Wallis Simpson in 1936.
Followed by Queen Elizabeth in 1952.
Then Corazon Aquino in 1986. Some appeared with a cred-lending man, like married couple Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling in 1937.
Others, like the 1966 cover, put “women” in the general sense on the cover as part of a large and ambiguously defined group like “25 and Under.” And to be clear, that particular cover still had the banner “Man of the Year” strapped above the scalp of a nice looking white man.
Some years had a group of women on the cover, like 1975’s “Women of the Year.”
They included a relatively diverse group of women, which is always a step in the right direction. It also reinforces the notion of women flocking together, syncing our period cycles as sisters under the moon goddess. A woman is only as powerful as the company she keeps, after all. But maybe that is too paranoid. Recognizing the impact of the many important women in the world is important, so the jury’s out on this cover.
The 2005 cover, “The Good Samaritans,” was similar to the “Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling” issue. It featured Bill Gates, Bono, and Melinda Gates, pictured in that order.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. Bill Gates and Bono are the point; Melinda Gates appears as part of a powerful married couple.
And perhaps the most obnoxious attempt to prove they haven’t been tragically male-oriented for decades, was their inclusion of the infamous 2006 cover “You.”
Remember that one? There was no person on the cover, just a computer. A COMPUTER IS NOT A PERSON, TIME. This is a double cop-out; the first was putting the goddamn inanimate object on the PERSON of the Year cover and the second was pretending that move was in any conceivable way specifically an honor to women.
Nevertheless, Merkel is an excellent choice and certainly superior to big cry-baby Trump.
Images via Time magazine
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